Humanitarian route that covered millions of kilometres. The blog of Oleksandr Vyshniakov, Director of Rinat Akhmetov Humanitarian Center
Rinat Akhmetov Humanitarian Center presented its performance results for 2016. During the reporting event the eyewitnesses of our operation told about the life and difficulties of civilian population in the armed conflict area. And they also told about our work there. Many guests were asking me: How did you manage to build a system and not miss a single part in it? Develop processes not just for processes, but do it for people.
We learned how to help hundreds of thousands people. At the very beginning we did the things that we couldn't do before, we found the way out where it seemed to be none. We learned to deliver humanitarian aid even to the "grey zone", where hostilities are active every day. We became experts in overcoming the barriers of problems and destroying the walls of misunderstanding. We continue learning and improving.
Hundreds of thousands of human destinies, people waiting for help, daily calls to the hotline, 300 convoys sent – this is a lot of experience. These are millions of kilometres, dozens of sleepless nights, 11.7 million survival kits issued to people. Our aid recipients are the most vulnerable categories of civilians, 70% of them are retired people and 6% are disabled people. 2.5 years ago none of us could believe that the trouble would reach this enormous scale, that our humanitarian aid would be saving more than half million people in non-government-controlled areas.
And in our work we are guided by the main principle: the assistance provided shall be timely, available and high-quality.
We built a system that made this scale real. And this system is open, we are ready to share our experience. I hope this openness will help other humanitarian missions to save human lives.
The Humanitarian Center has a unique five-stage system for product quality control. The control is carried out from the moment of product purchasing to package issuance into recipient's hands. And obligatory condition for each product unit in all the food packages is a laboratory inspection. The main thing here is compliance with the standards for each food group.
The delivery and quality control system operates in the Mariupol logistics centre, from where the food packages are sent to residents of the "grey zone". The same five-stage system was successfully operating at Donbas Arena since August 2014 till the end of February 2017. Donbas Arena, the great sports facility, was turned into humanitarian hub within a few weeks. They created perfect conditions for food storage there: temperature, humidity, ventilation, zoning for each type of product. The high level of organization at Donbas Arena was recognized by international missions that visited us to exchange experience.
We set a goal to ourselves: help those who cannot survive without our help. Help with basic set of high-quality products. The main confirmation of how important it is can be seen from our aid recipients’ feedbacks.
We get hundreds of positive feedbacks in the letters, at the issuing points, in the calls coming to our hotline. There's so much tragedy, gratitude and stories in these calls and messages. We get feedbacks from civilians living in non-government-controlled areas, where we were taken away the possibility to issue food packages since February 28.
A story of a multi-child mother from Petrovsky district of Donetsk. She has five children. Two younger children are allergic and need certified and safe products. According to the mother, they cannot make it without the Center's help. They say that the products are simple, but high-quality, and this is exactly what her children need. The woman is in despair.
People still call the Center's hotline to inform that we distribute food packages in non-government-controlled areas. We get calls from elderly people and young mothers from Donetsk and many other towns. They say that some of our issuing points have been opened again and the Humanitarian Center's employees come to people's homes and make up some lists.
This information is not true. Since February 28, 2017 Rinat Akhmetov Humanitarian Center has no possibility to issue humanitarian aid in non-government-controlled areas. The Center's operation was blocked, later it was announced prohibited. We have no access to Donbas Arena, to aid distribution points and food products. We don't know what is being done to them now. Our volunteers are not working at the issuing points anymore. They cannot call, they cannot issue or promise any food packages.
The Center continues its operation in government-controlled areas and in the "grey zone". We keep on helping those, who cannot make it on their own. We are trying to help on time, understand people’s needs and respond them. Day after day in the places where people are really waiting for us.